Blog: Dave LeggettFord's Way Forward

Dave Leggett | 24 January 2006

The dust has settled a little bit on Ford’s announcements of yesterday now and there does seem to be a widespread feeling that after all the build-up and some serious stoking of expectations in the run-up (Fields’ tub-thumping speech in LA) it’s just a little bit of a damp squib with an element of haven’t we heard all this before? To be fair to Ford, the main thrust of what we heard yesterday has been heavily trailed in the media over the past four weeks. There was bound to be a sense of anti-climax.

It is, though, still a plan and Ford’s US manufacturing footprint will be downsized and put on a footing that makes profitability from its US operations more achievable. But Ford still needs the models that fly in the market if it is to reverse its American decline. Product is key. The proof of the pudding will be in the eating.

If this plan falls short on results, expect more to come.

Would Ford sell Jaguar, in principle? It is a question that I keep coming back to. The unit is losing quite a bit of money and when push comes to shove, companies fall back to a core of what is profitable. Jaguar’s losses may be absorbable on some grounds (synergies elsewhere, about to turn the corner...), but I’d be surprised if there wasn’t a fallback position somewhere in which sell-off was an element - though there is the trifling detail of finding a buyer and a decent price. One thing I did notice yesterday was that Jim Padilla had a short slide show on global operations that made favourable references to the performances of Volvo, Land Rover and Aston Martin, but there is no mention at all of Jaguar.

Link to Rob Golding’s view on Way Forward is below:

GOLDING’S TAKE: The Ford family has tried almost everything


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